A trip around the art of an irreverent Tuscan.
Our world is a brand new world and it is made of suddenness. Time is out, space is vanished. Now we live in a global village, in a simultaneous happening. (Marshall McLuhan, Understanding media, 1964)
At your arrival a charming landscape welcomes you and it is one of those which enlivens a great part of the Tuscan paintings or a great part of them. Nature passes out sparkling green and brown all around thanks to ancestral and skilful brush strokes and you can perceive the smell of the still wet soil under soft sunbeams, thinking about cyclical ancient events of thousand years. You observe all and you think that the soul of the places really exists and it is perpetuated in those who live there, affecting the most important choices of their lives and those which concern artistic flair. This intuition gets stronger and stronger as soon as we enter the studio where Giulio shows me his last works. And the surprise is amazing this time. I already know all the aspects of the sperimental foreboding which drives him to face always himself making a deep sense of his work. But, despite that, I still find extraordinary his capability for proposing tme something new each time, even thought his continuing research. Once again I find legends and heroes such as Golem and Spillone, the many fantastic mongrels living on paintings and carved milled operas, as the inevitable main characters of episodes of a tale. I find again the symbols which are the original structure of the anthropological memory, basis of our Mediterranean culture. Above all I find again the silent presence of shapes and items which reveal a special attention to material values, as it was a sort of blend of painting and sculpture and of raw materials, which are signs of the human work and of rural culture, and clearly contemporary tones of colour and mark. At the same time, you can easily notice that something changed; the fresh breeze of a new experience puckers surfaces up to toss them deeply. It Is not difficult to individuate the reasons at the origin of this change: where the tangle of signs becomes thicker less furiously. Gaze is able to recognize some characters of Chinese writing which acquire something familiar, as far as they are so unclear, as they were part of its complex figurative grammar, even if remained at the embryonic stage for a long time. A trip to Orient? The confirmation does not arrive in late. I get to know that Giulio has spent time studying ideograms recently and this does not surprise me, because of the importance of signs in his paintings. But immediately, the way this element becomes part of a whole and not a predominant which goes beyond the overview moves me deeply. This sort of chorus of the espressive factors coexists in synergy on the short space of the support and each one maintains its own semantic opulence. And it makes me thinking about the concept of “global village” that is a reality which is, so far as it is delimited, a place of continuous contacts, influences and comparisons between the elements which are part of it anch which are linked each other thanks to an intimate connection. Nothing else but the mirror of our times which aspires to entirety, to cohesion, to the resetting of physical, cultural and linguistic distances, in order to lead them to the extended concept of community. The words of Marshall McLuhan come to my mind and they declaim “the era of the electric speed which blends prehistoric cultures with the sediments of the industrial civilizations, the literate with the semi illiterate and with the post-literate. I glance at paintings and I notice they are more and more open to the passage of signs and symbols, zoomorphic and antropomorphic figures coming from a so far away time or coming from a who knows incredible gene mutation. And I imagine that this melting pot, which is dictated by the electric force, motivates their labyrinthine nature. In Mcluhan painting, the man of our time will rediscover himself as an active and intensively part of the society when “the sound of tribal drums” will be heard in the air again, when will cross pass over individualisms and a wrong concept of progress, allowing us to restablish the lost communion between subject and object, nature and culture, thinking and feeling. And again, it’s he himself to ascribe the task of being the mediator in this difficult situation to the artist,that is the one able to “write an accurate story about the future because he is the only person who is aware of the nature of the present”. Probably, if he had not this awareness, Giulio Galgani would not have taken part with the encouraging certainties of the pictorial representation taking the chance, on the other hand, of a settled but dynamic spatial dimension which is more inclined to instability than to proportion, and compared to it, eye tends to move frantically from a point to another, alternating stops to restarts. It’s not a rush for grasping a fleeing meaning only, because in the continuous dialectic between order and disorder, one and multiple the heterogeneity of current days communicative system reflects itself. Up against the caotic and fragmentary nature of contemporary languages starting again from the sign makes sense and thanks to its archetypal simplicity can reveal immediately what a word can only explain. We can find reiterative signs with an obsessive rhythm Even in recent works too, wherein the pictorial background shrinks in order to be the frame of a recovered material applied on the support without special intervention. Giulio is not stranger to the fusion between color and substance (and I think about milled works) or to insert objects into the created system. Those objects, taken from daily life, acquire a clear symbolic value: they are memories, finds of Nature and examples of that “unsaid” which waits to be explained. Last works acquire a more complicated morphology, putting the painted reality and the real substance not always on the same plane. Sometimes you can have the impression that sign and colour move back in front of a substance they perceive as extraneous and which occupies the core of the “scene”. Other times they occupy all the surface, giving back to the material element the function of support. It is a game between alternations in which substance is colourandcolour is substance: Burri’s informal experience teaches this. The opaque black of the scraps of the tires is just colour as spots and scribbles which reveal the origin are colour too: how many burnt by the sun asphalts they had walked through, how many green kilometers which lie under casting of tar? But even the most base substance is released in the artistic invention becoming clod where life is born again, as can happen that the blunt, primordial beauty of a metallic blade and its oxidation let us thinking about the strenght of an ancient soldier while the battle enrages. And what can we say about Escaped landscapes, which just yesterday were janitors of his “vocation” of the substance and that wink their eyes at paintings to dress in colours today? Are they the umpteenth declaration of freedom from just written rules maybe? A way to remember us that creating rhymes with playing not only for a question of sounds and that in art as in our life, playing is a serious matter. In the disorder of his studio, a real laboratory where fabulous grafts and transplants take place, Giulio thinks up a system to close art “pains”. A surgery with no specific traumas but always accompanied by the smile of someone who, just like him, is not afraid of confronting himself with the 1900s artistic history taboos. “Fontana cut the painting, I close it with a zipper!”. An attempt to call attention to the surface, to the values of the paintings, to an idea of time that today seem to be compressed if not disappear in the great vortex of the global society. Daniela Pronestì